tv Today in Washington CSPAN November 6, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EST
i want to thank all of you for joining us tonight. i'm mark w. johnson. have a great night. >> while you watch her election night coverage literature might go online to our election have. you'll find interactive maps with election results in the presidential race and the senate, house and governors contest. updates on the balance of power in congress, plus track the state balance initiatives all in real-time as the results coming. election have at c-span.org. >> i like the give-and-take. i like the balanced approach. and i also like to hear the collars. i don't call myself a like to hear the collars. some are unusual to say the least. c-span is everywhere. c-span in washington is just every defense, you know, small hearing, public policy meeting,
downtown. c-span just seems to be there. >> steve austin watches on horizon. c-span, created by an american cable companies in 1979, brought to you as a public service on your television provider. >> next, a debate of issues important to younger voters in this presidential campaign. panelist and american spectator reason.com and liberal oasis reps at the conservative, liberal and libertarian point of view. hosted by the student organization come young americans for liberty at american university. this is about two hours. >> first, i like to say, the members of young americans for
liberty help me bring this event come to life. also want to thank our cosponsors for tonight and no labels. and also like to thank the generous contributions from the cato institute, american enterprisamericanenterprise ins, intercollegiate studies institute in the leadership institute. i want to thank her speakers later on tonight will be introduced by our moderator. 20 years ago, my thought had made his journey in america. my father came to a server goes as the land of opportunity. became too many obstacles. not a single english word in his vocabulary. and no friend. no family members to make his life easier in america. there is one thing that can my
father to do whatever you imagine and that is belief. if you work hard, if you're patient, if you take responsibility to own actions, you can build your success. a belief that in america every chance for serious dreams and ensure that your children the have a life you never had. a belief in america regardless of who you are, where you come from, who you love, what you worship on what political beliefs you hold to, that you have a right to freedom with no strings, no values. this is what my father believed to be the american dream the this is still the american dream. we all it to our ancestors but we owe it to our parents and our children and most important we all it to ourselves to make sure that we make the american dream an american reality. but yet today we live in a time of restricted freedom.
which leads american citizens pain and definitely without due process. with wiretapping conducted under the patriot act, you live in a time where engage in multiple wars and on the brink of another candidate time -- [inaudible] countries in pakistan, libya, yemen, somalia and remains to be a factor of national security for civilians and the homefront. we live any time where american citizens, as young as 16, can be easily -- [inaudible]. this is not the dream that our ancestors left everything for. this is not the dream that my father sacrifice everything for. this is not the american dream. there is one thing that holds true beyond the birth of this nation. and it holds true to all americans. from the migrant worker in california to the students here
in this room and executives in new york city, we all cherish liberty. and i can't help but to feel we are among the greatest generation. [inaudible] we hold the world at our fingertips and we can change the world at the blink of an eye. to the innovation of social media we have brought the world closer together, and we've brought stories shared among all individuals. i have come to realize after having my article published in an online magazine, that to me proves to me that we do have a future. we must take full of vantage of our time in history. this is why i'm so honored to host the debate tonight with three speakers of three different perspectives and political ideology.
i truly believe the discussions among these different perspectives and opinions can pay for which he american dream. all of our paths here for many years. today, we will write of our own future, our own destiny. i can't think of any better person to lead a debate more eloquently, efficiently, equally, and as an individual who has come you know, arising -- in the city of charleston, south carolina, he began -- [inaudible] all americans to the publication of "the american spectator," young american revolution. 7 it is an honor and great
pleasure to introduce to you to tonight's moderate, so please join in putting our heads together for mr. jack hunter. [applause] >> it's a pleasure to be with you all here this evening for this campus debate between what is supposed to be a libertarian, liberal and conservative, and the conservative leader eventually go i promise you. he is escaping a flame metro car. so that is always sort of hard to contend with. okay, right here. this is going to be a funny thing. it's going to be a good exchange like to thank young americans for liberty, american university, students are liberty, college republicans and no labels for putting on this event. i will introduce the speakers the larger. first of all, representing the liberal perspective is the star bill scher, he is the online campaign manager of the campaign
for america's future and the author of weight, don't move to canada, stayed back and fight strategy to win america. is the host of liberal oasis redo show podcast at liberaloasis.com. the dnc -- the dnc with conservative writer matt lewis and also out blogging had tv and it's been publishing in your times. many of the star trek and, omaha world herald and these times, has made appearances on cnn, msnbc and other tv and radio outlets. representing the libertarian perspective tonight is mr. tim cavanaugh. tim cavanaugh is a writer and producer for reason magazine and reason tv. he has worked as the online editor of the "l.a. times" and ran the late lamented sex.com. his work has appeared in the "washington post," "the boston globe," slate, the beirut daily star, san francisco magazine, "mother jones," and many, many
others. eventually mr. jim and document a spectator and the daily car will be joining us and when he does i will give him a proper introduction. would the gentleman i have a right now i think a good way to get started, so those are three different perspectives, too represented here now, these are for philosophies in the midst of a campaign season, we are left and right and whatever is in between but i suppose that might be libertarian, dictator or influence on this election are outlined the american body politic. i think we should start with you individuals describing what it means to be a liberal. we will start with mr. scher. >> thanks very much for doing this. thank you for having us here. i've always defined liberalism very simply. the three r.'s of government. a government that is representative of all the people, that is responsive to the peoples concerned and is responsible of managing our resources both financial and
natural. and that to me is the kind of government that always has been in place when america has been its most successful. when governments have been artificially restrained from doing what is good at and what it can do in which i think we saw in the previous decade, there are rules of the road for corporations for financial institutions were not investing in our infrastructure, education. we can hit serious obstacles when government, in response to what the people are asking it to do. is active in a smart and responsible way. we can move the ball forward. we can avert a global depression as we just had with the recovery act. we can expand health care to make sure most americans recover while also cutting on costs and averting long-term debt issues as we get to obamnicare. these are the kinds of
initiatives which i think liberals are best at and i think when we can have a clear contrast between ideology in a short period of time. >> thanks a lot. i. i'm jim. thanks having me. i am libertarian. that's a philosophy that is popular described as being socially liberal and fiscally conservative. i don't think it really is a broad enough definition it is a popular one because it allows libertarians to say that 22% of the voters are huge number of voters are fiscally conservative, social, liberal. i think it's a little more radical view of ownership of yourself to think about this would. you own a lot of stuff, the first thing you own is yourself, your own mind, your own body, your own heart and nobody is in a better position to make a decision about how you dispose of those things than you are. even if somebody were in a
better position, it's just highly unlikely given everything we know that knowledge and our personality, that that still wouldn't be the right thing to do because your mistakes are your own. and that is the founding principal, founding philosophy of libertarianism. that's pretty far, that's a pretty far basis from kind of practical politics that bill was referring to. look forward to getting into whether we a part of the global depression, and if so what we have been uprooted into, but that's where we come from. the individual is prior to state. it's basically an update of the idea that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you may have heard about, are your rights, the rights of everyone. >> since you mentioned a global depression, our economy is not a topic a lot of people wanted to do it now. and women are sorting out where they should be.
what is your, from your own unique political perspective, your idea of the proper economic policy that will great the most wealth and possibility -- prosperity for the most people. >> look at what's happened the past three years. president of vomiting and. gdp was collapsing. negative 18% losing three quarter millions of job each month. the economy was in free fall. we were not we wanted to be. that is clear that what was decided but from where we were four years ago, we are at 2% growth let now versus negative eight. that's a pretty good direction you want to be in. and this is typical of financial crises. different another kind of cyclical recessions. if someone will look at the reagan recession, to say that really bounced back within year, growth will shot up in 83. so obama policy must be worse than reagan's. centiseconds longer time. a different kind of recession. when there's a credit crunch
comes when it's hard to get a credit, the financial sector up and running again, traditionally those take a longer time to get out of. the great depression, for example, took years to get out of, but fdr came in with unemployment at 25%. by the first of his first year it was more like 17. people said hey, that's better than we were. let's keep it going in this direction. and what we have with recovery act is a bottom-up response from primitive we need government to do something. this is not been shut country and shut down our throats. do that the private sector's not going to do it. because they're being battered by this credit crunch, by the collapse of the banks. the public sector major entity of last resort come to step in and prevent everything from going worse. so now at a place where we're not freefalling, but we are still not where we could be and
should be. there's lots of things that we need to do to be in a better place. the private sector isn't doing on its own. if they were doing it i would supplant them for no reason, but they are not going to on their own upgrade our roads and bridges. that's not what the private sector does. they are not going to help us avert a climate crisis. they're not going to come on their own, invest in a lot of cutting edge green technology that's not proven to be commercially successful as of yet. just because nature's clock is ticking. that's not how it private sector decision is made. that's only public sector energy is going to do. so we have that kind of work to do. it's going to live as with a better nation and a better world afterwards. it's not make were. it's what has to get done. and we have a job crisis, and it's country interest rates are very low.
it's a great time to borrow. rates are so low. you can invest in a lot of these projects and not bust the budget. so you have some perfect conditions for more robust government here. so it's a good time for that responsive, responsive government. >> you know, it's a great time to borrow an unfortunate that so people are doing. we have massive high levels of debt, private and public debt. savings rates have been down below 4%, around 3%. they're about as low as they were in the middle of the last decade. nothing is getting better. nobody sees any light coming along. if things, if free fall is so bad, shouldn't we be seeing that
in declining prices it and yet we are not. we have all of the institutions of finance and of the federal reserve end of the government trying to prevent prices from coming down. when, if you looked, i think was a gallup poll just the other day, asked, this is another question that did not come up in the debate. what is your most, your biggest concern about the economy. by far, by a factor of two, the largest number of people said higher prices. i don't like prices going up. we are told every day there's no inflation, and we've seen a decline in house prices but they are still not to a level where most people can afford to buy, lease if you take what was a historic level of affordability as a fact of how much people are earning every year. we have seen, we averted ourselves into the endless stagnation.
people need to take time into consideration. it's now been five years. and running. i would say that actually which bobby going back about 2001, is a winner economic stagnation really begin. it was papered over by bubblebath house prices. but we can go on like that indefinite. europe and japan has proven you can go on like that indefinitely, but the fact is your free fall for a while, maybe the smartest thing to do is to let that continue to collapse and let prices hit bottom and didn't dig your way out from there. whatever we avoided, i don't see how it's any better than a period of extended nation. we continued to print more money, now on quantitative easing to the in power. people forget how many stimuli and rescue packages, bailouts there were in the last two years of george w. bush's term.
he himself said oh, i had to give up my free market ideals in order to save the economy. what did he save? you guys are probably going to be graduate in a couple of years. what kind of market are you going to be facing. are you optimistic about it? i don't think so. and yet it's considered really strange but it doesn't get brought up in the debate. neither of the major partners really addressed this at all, the absolute manifest failure came with economics. there's this group of lunatics out there who once in a while said hey, you don't need to change the medicine, you don't need to up the dosage. and medicine is what's killing the patient. >> on the inflation question, generally speaking, inflation is generally a check. it's very mild right now, but you d.c. more volatility on things like food and energy. and i can give you perception of prices being out of hand because
you go to the supermarket once a week and philip your cart once a week or more. you see that going up. that gets under your skin. but it often creates an index because that's a noisy up and down figure, look at so-called core inflation. poor inflation is the price of everything else. that's a pretty stable. but your larger point, keynesian economics, the basic keynesian argument that john maynard teams pushed during the great depression was, because at the time people generally have this notion during an economic crisis like a government should retrench. keep the budget balanced, don't be reckless, that's when you write out the storm he said that might have a certain sense of appeal but not what's going to work at this projected build again. the private sector is retrenching. if consumers are retrenching. this businesses are in best thing. someone has to step in.
always a last resort is the government. and when that happens with fdr -- any kind of mild weight first, because fdr didn't fully subscribe to teams at the time. so they have some infrastructure investment and some kind of -- went infrastructure was taking too long. that was moving things along from a delay, when they're really cranked it up. and that's when the depression really into. so now what we have is what we've seen it, the recovery act is a classic example of this. now what tina suggesting is maybe that isn't so great. maybe if the government stayed way and you hit rock bottom, that would be, lead to a more vibrant economy. there's an argument about this that comes from the left sometimes in regards to the events. we should have bailed out the banks. let's have hit rock bottom, we doubt the rotting wood and let them clean themselves. and look, maybe, maybe tim is
right. it's a hell of a but to take. if you're wrong. >> dying to jump in. you know, i don't want to spend all night on installation and how it gets measured, but if you're suspicious of a measure of inflation that counts everything except the stuff you need, to stay alive, then your right to feel suspicious about it. even with that, inflation in check is the problem. we've had 11% now since 2007, since peak, your dollar now buys 11 since left -- less than it did in 2007. and there's been no growth, and there has been no benefit to anybody out there. this is what's so maddening. when the liberals make this argument, that it's the people at the bottom. it's like john cougar mellencamp said, the supplement pays the
bill. these are the people running on a treadmill to get further back. i mean, all you have to do is read the paper, watch your phone to know that this is going on. the idea that we're going to solve this through more inflation and through more spin, this is a question i have for everybody who proposes the keynesian -- if there are people in the audience government with the idea of the keynesian liquidity trap and the idea that you need, government needs to step in to pick up the slack in aggregate demand, all right, the idea is that the government needs to spend on deficit and needs to go further into debt in order to push all the money out into the economy that is in india, because everyone is afraid to stand. i'd just like to point out the great depression went on for more than 10 years after this
rooseveltian seamers started but if you count the world war ii as a statement, which even barack obama's economic adviser, christina romer has refuted the idea that the war actually ended the depression, you know, none of that, the actual original failure of keynesian was during the depression and yet nobody saw that way. but if we're going to take that serious, take the idea that taking up slack in demand is what we need to do, how much do we need to spend? what is the dollar figure that government needs to put out? >> are you asking? >> yeah. >> there's a lot of debate about this. it's hard to come with a precise figure because we are human beings and we do the best -- >> the keynesians are the ones who believe that everything is trackable to these complex mathematical formulas with all
kinds of greek letters and stuff. [inaudible] >> there was internal debate in the obama administration how big is the gap, how much do you need to fill it, and how much do you do on your own or do just to lay a floor and let the private sector do the rest. to some extent this was an economic question. how much can you get congress to accept. some people on the left are mad at larry summers because christina romer was suggesting that you had to go over 1 trillion. and summers was like a, there's no way you're getting that number through congress. the christina romer's of the world look more correctly it were able to get more into, we might end up at her place today. there's also a counter argument that on paper and maybe that is true, but there's only so much the government can do to process that money in a constructive way
so maybe you're hitting the ceiling of diminishing returns at that point. you can only run one test at a time so you don't know who is exactly right. but i will say as far as speed of government action is concerned, usually the government, they are too slow to act. this is such a rare case when they didn't wait until rock-bottom. they didn't wait until everything had shed. they stop the freefall of what was happening and made wasn't exact perfect number, but it was pretty good. to get into a positive territory when we were into negative territory. >> my view is all of these programs just cement into place the problems that are already there. they prevent -- failure is the future of the free market. it's not a bug. all of these things just leave us in a state of calm in a static state and that's what we've been for five years. if you like this, there's plenty more coming. i think there's coming -- plenty more coming about two wins in next week's election.
>> i will address this to you first, thank you. mr. shear mentioned it's the job of the public sector degrade roads and bridges as we for that in this election. you need roads to get there to be successful. a lot of libertarians say you don't even need the state to that extent. how do you answer that challenge, we need a certain amount of central planning for infrastructure? >> you know, this is not my area of expertise but it's not my favorite, and i don't like painful but i hate driving to delaware and bound and so forth. but, you know, that is one way, more private building of roads. none of these are simple solutions. a part of my philosophy is that big is not necessarily better. i mean, you know, i can go really crazy, however far back you go, i will go back further and say i think the constitution was the problem.
i think we're better off under the articles of adoration and i don't know the training needs to stretch and sea to shining sea. i don't see why we need to have these massive superhighways that go through and destroyed neighborhoods, why we need to master builders like bob knows who destroys neighborhoods, in the name of progress. yeah, there's some benefit in terms of convenience and drivability and so forth. i don't know that would result in other ways through more, you know, county roads, more state roads, more private roads. again, i mean, if you go to reason you can find a lot more, people with a lot more expertise about all roads and can make these arguments more persuasively than i can. taken infrastructure case. i mean, our conservative is not here because he took public transportation, right? [laughter] want to get that out there. we didn't and we are here. and i will say that d.c. public
transportation is an absolute disgrace. i just moved here from los angeles which actually has a fairly decent public transportation system that is by space. if you're willing to take the bus, which, of course, you know, people of, people are never willing to take the bus. people actually need public transportation take the bus. if you go, i go to lebanon all the time, and i can get from the north of lebanon down to beirut, all over the country for a couple of bucks on just these buses that run along. some of them are licensed. i presume a lot of them are not. you know, right here in d.c. we have this endless battle going on about the taxicab medallion system, which is straight up public choice. it is a nothing but existing players trying to submit the thing and to prevent anybody from tainting within. transportation doesn't need to be mapped out in some central room. it's much better if people make
their own decisions about transportation and how to get around. a lot of people choose bikes. i like to ride a bike myself. >> we should have more bike paths provided by the government. but i've never heard anyone say that d.c. metro was worse than los angeles bus system. >> i'm pulling out all the stops tonight. >> raise something that i think is worth noting your look, not every government decision is going to be a good one. i don't think it's fair to say this infrastructure project was not good, therefore, all public infrastructure projects are better just like they can be private corporations that behaved badly but he doesn't all corporations should be abolished. people in the private sector and public sector are human beings they can make mistakes but the question is what in general is going to be necessary to have a healthy function society that has both liberty and health and
security. and take -- what is strange about moderate conservatism, i'm sorry jim is not here yet, i would ask them, give them a chance. most conservatives would say they are not for no government but limited government which is a perfectly, everyone can have the on believe they think. makes no sense in general. but most conservatives i think, talk privately would agree there is something's only government is going to do, like roads and bridges, and now we're in the middle after hurricane sandy like fema. and i think dean is a very interesting question that befuddles me because it started with jimmy carter, one of jimmy carter's, numbered bureaucratic innovations was fema. and reagan did was take it scarce and did we take it certificate didn't staff it with professional. then in 92 bush senior got burned with a response to
hurricane andrew in florida. and clinton wrote in his autobiography, i made a mental note at the time, i'm not going to get elected because of my disaster management record but i could sure lose this job i'll make darshan going to hire a pro that will really with fema into shape, which he did. and then bush junior comes in the. he has a government agency after eight years, which everybody likes. no one is mad at fema in 2000. and then bush, for nobody is reason to me, besides forget it, let's start privatizing functions again. let's put and political cronies again. let's go back to the old way. and he got burned. and so obama comes back and put in a pro. people are pretty happy with response of sandy so far, and you haven't heard much about fema the past three years because like most government agencies when they do the job you don't hear about it. that's why the challenges of being a liberal.
and enron is on the record saying when faced with fema from any opportunity you can do to turn over to the state or the private sector you should do it. why can't a conservative just a you know what, this one works. i may hate the government and a lot of various but there's something seven has to do speak a perfect legitimate question, especially in aftermath of sandy. with the article in the new york times, take storms require big government. tim, would like to response because i'm from atlantic city, neither brother back there right now who weathered out the storm. had his own generator, and he's not a survivalist. he's actually a pilot with delta airlines, completely upstanding citizen who ordinarily tells me you're and idiot libertarian, anybody doesn't go for obama is a racist, et cetera. and he in the last couple of days has been ranting about how nobody is allowed back on the
island to atlantic city is on the barrier island. all of the people evacuate, and this is a great example of setting up perverse incentives the next only to you to evacuate, you'd be a fool to do so because they have now shown after almost half a week now, they're not letting anybody back on the item. he is ranting and raving about the government needs to get out of our way, just let people back on the item. this is a perfect example. who is better at bringing themselves back up from a disaster and the people who actually lived there, have homes there, and operate businesses there. the jury is still out on sandy in the sandy recovery. the governor of new jersey had this big fight with the mayor of atlantic city right now over whether he forced enough people to evacuate and so forth. pushing people around and forcing people to do things is not the way to recover him a disaster. there's a lot of literature, including some interesting stuff by great leftist writer about voluntary communities, the way
they come together in the face of disaster. and that is what gets things going. we had a horrible disaster in new orleans, and brownie deserved all the planes that he got and so forth, but part of the problem is that we should not be relying on the government to take care of us in these dashing even in these terrible disaster situations. obviously, there's kind of be a situation where you need more brute force, and don't brute force is the one thing government is, in fact, good at. but those tend to have been in the headlines, whether they happen at the individual level. people need to, first of all, be discouraged from building houses in hurricane zones which we don't need to get too deep into that. by the government subsidizes your insurance to build in all kinds of areas we shouldn't be doing it in the first place. if you let the price of that go up people will not be in these
situations as much in the first place. then when the disaster hits, you know, it's like anything else, if you're dependent on the government to save you, you are probably in bigger trouble than you know. >> okay, going back to the basic differences between liberals and libertarians, talking about the function of the state in relation to the public and private sectors. let me ask you, bill, there was a great piece in magazine after the democratic national convention, i think of something called the big question, and basically had all these speakers get up there, at the democratic convention and talk about we need this program for this and we need this program for that, basically we're going to do this in infrastructure, come together. all these different programs. barack obama is looking at a $16 trillion national debt taking from bush's 10 to 12 trillion whatever it was at the time he left the obviously this deficit and debt keep growing dramatically and tragically. you asked earlier to give a number as for stimulus.
what would be the actual number that would help, which you trillion help? how much money can we spend? is it unlimited? that is a quintessential liberal position that we just can't spend all this government money, keep doing it and that's how we go are going to take of society. can we do 40 trillion? how far are we going to go? >> when obama came in him at the annual deficit, understand or terms are, the deficit is an annual number, how much money you take in versus how much you spend, a collective debt, how much in bond has been issued to various bondholders. annual deficits when obama came is 1.2 trillion. where it is this year is 1.1 trillion. went up a little bit in the middle, came back down. so we're not talking about someone who is completely gone off the deep end. we have an annual deficit every year, there's a collective debt is going to grow.
but we throw out these numbers collective debt is -- those numbers cannot -- [inaudible] which jenna happens to some degree all the time. so it can be a bit of a misnomer. the figure that most folks, and congress looked at with judging how much can you really shouldered if the ratio of your debt to gdp, your overall economy, and right now that's fairly high. historically speaking. it's not high as it was during world war ii when it was at its highest but it is up there. and so far we can't sustain that. those are the so-called deficit hawks always say, gets out of hand, interest rates are going to explode. that has not happened. in the past four years. maybe if you stayed at this level are tenured, maybe it
would. but we are not quite there yet. and that's why obama has proposed some kind of long-term deficit reduction program to get to gdp ratio down to what is more recent, 40%, generally a level most folks think is sustained over time. there's almost no nation in the world that doesn't have some gdp ratio. we've had fewer -- their head in the 19th century when it didn't have teams in economics. so i do think we can sustain some, but it would be better to find a way to cut what you don't need. there's private access and military for example. raise revenue were you can. there's more we can get out of the top 2% than they can afford to be right now. find more creative ways, the
real deficit drive, debt driver is health care. and there's an argument to make that obamnicare might well at the end of the day totally solve this problem depend on how well the american experiment goes. know when can map a perfectly because they are expended to but most economists say that's the main driver of deficit is health care. and we are on the path to reform that. so there are plans in place. there's things that are grown implement and ideas on the table which would presumably get the debt ratio down to reasonable levels over time, not in a broadway that we chilled an economy that is still on the mend. >> go ahead, tim spent it's a shame don't have the conservative here, because i am certainly not going to defend george w. bush deficit spending or his running up the debt. the debt is what matters. the debt is $16 trillion it
reached that point under obama. we have to accept these facts. the issue is how do we stop it. and it's not going to be done through a combination of tax increases and reductions in spending. which by the way, whenever reduction since been. they are reductions in the rate of growth of new spending. certainly united states, and for all the picking we do on greece and italy and spain, they have actually spent a little less year over year than they have before. the state i just came from, california under jerry brown, managed to do that, too. those are all steps in the right direction. we are only going to get there through cutting spending in the united states. the idea that you're going to have tax increases, close the deficit that way, the thing that president is trying in france right now, president or prime minister, whatever he is, but
75% tax rate. history has shown again and again going back to the first deficits that hoover ran during the great depression when, as history has forgotten, began the process that franklin roosevelt continued of deficit spending in order to take up the slack in aggregate demand. you never reduce your debt that way. tax increases do not reduce debt. the new money that comes and gets spent on new programs that get created. those programs perpetuate themselves and they require new spending and new borrowing. cutting spending is the only way to get there. this was the shining inside of the tea party. and i'm sorry, i'm a little bit, i should apologize a little bit for my fellow cosmo carrion's who, you know, i think did not give proper credit to the tea party produces the first time in my lifetime, as far as i'm the first time in american history
that anybody has been out there, this massive protest movement, of checking specifically to spending. they weren't saying my taxes are too high. they were saying that, but that wasn't their focus to the focus was you need to stop the spinning. this is ridiculous. agenda, because a lot of people believe in jesus or whatever, i believe libertarians did not give as much credit as they think they deserve. and we need to get to pick we need to accept that. this is where bill and i are really going to come to a real difference of opinion and that's great but we should have real differences of opinion, but that is when you will get real prosperity. bill clinton showed. i long for the days of bill clinton. we saw the deficit going down and partly because the republicans in congress tied in a. as you said at the beginning, prevented the government from doing its duty. you know, that's what the system is supposed to do.
it's designed that way so the different branches keep each other in check. when that really happens, you see government not spend as much. that's when you see a real prosperity, and when you see that actually start to go down. >> [inaudible] >> he did spanky raise taxes. not a single republican voted for. they said this of the economic devastation if you raise taxes on wall street. >> i know but the actual reduction in deficit started after the republicans took over congress and after they started blocking everything that bill clinton wanted to do. spent it was the revenue in 93, and -- [talking over each other] >> you actually look at -- this is what matters to the tax rate is what everybody pays attention to. what we should be paying attention to is how much are they bringing. they were bringing in the senate and the higher tax rates. this is another thing. we never get above that 18, 19%
in revenue. this goes back to the 50s when the top tax rates above 70% and so forth. you still only got about 18 to 90% of gdp as your revenue. so that doesn't change. you can fanatical attacks at all you want to go not going to raise any more taxes by raising tax rates. that's a solid-state number. it's this benefit is out of control. right now we're at about 25% of gdp. that's what has to come down spent clinton raised taxes in 1993. by 2000 have a balanced budget. they are on the verge of paying down the debt. bush came in and unraveled that tax plan. and lo and behold we no longer have a balanced budget anymore. i don't see how you wash that out of the whole picture. >> again, by looking at how much money actually came into the treasury bigoted and change under -- >> [inaudible]
>> george bush junior, the same amount of ram under george bush junior, actually rather that would've come in otherwise. >> i -- it depends on the year actually. i -- in -- were, i don't know. i'm going to cut on the are you saying it did, that revenues decreased under bush? >> i would presume so. >> we need to go to the t. does anybody have fun out there that i look this up on? if you can just see what -- >> revenues -- [inaudible] >> i will not take that as speed always good have a ringer in the audience. spent likely with some ice going to so all this with us right now. put it behind us.
jim antle is the editor of the daily color news foundation a senior editor of "the american spectator," his work is also very "national review online," "the american spectator" online, the american conservative and moderate his writing has been linked by such high-traffic sites as rush limbaugh.com, worldnetdaily, andrew sullivan and lew rockwell.com. even quoted several times in the federalist committee is an expert as of today from escaping from a burning metro cars. ladies and gentlemen, gym and now joins us. >> we been having this discussion if you like to jump in on the tax rates of the clinton era, or whatever else comes to mind. >> i think my experience getting here has kind of alter the composition of the panel. i've become now a radical anarchist. [laughter] i'm now in favor of privatizing all streets, all forms of public transportation but i don't see how it to be a more disorderly process than what already exists. i think you all for your
patience but i'm sure you are entertained and edified by my colleagues here while, in my absence while i was clawing through the streets of d.c. let me start a little bit, not to detract from the conversation that was already ongoing, but i was going to summarize i guess conservatism from my perspective. and there's a lot of competing definitions of conservative that are out there, but i always start with george w. bush's 2000 campaign promise of a humble foreign policy. now, that phrase became a bit of a punch line even the way the actual events of the bush presidency unfolded. but the idea of humility, i think, is central to a bit too early american conservative notches in foreign policy but really in everything else. conservatism is, to my mind, based on two central insights. one is the idea that this is
sort of more of a temperament than ideology. the idea that the predisposition to decide that you're not going to tear something down until the first understand wide it's built. and you don't begin with the presumption that everything that has happened before you in the past, even if it may look arbitrary to you, or it may not, immediately make intuitive sense to you, it doesn't mean that those processes were really random or arbitrary. there may have, in fact, been good reasons for them, and it's worth studying those reasons before you innovate or reform. secondly, specifically american conservatism is dedicated to conserving a political tradition, and in the american political tradition of in this war political labels of all kinds it to be very complicated, the american political tradition is classical liberalism. so i american conservatism is in many key respects dedicated to the idea of preserving the
political inheritance the founding fathers who were, by certain standards, classically liberal in me key respects. even though that they did precede some of those thinkers. so to my mind humility is important for two reasons. one is being humble in the face of tradition. the other is understanding the limits of any all powerful group of any group of experts of any government in terms of determining what is in the best interest of any individual or any community. individuals and communities often know their own best interest in how to pursue their own form of happiness better than any centralized group, even if that centralized group may influence of everything else, possess more or greater knowledge but they don't necessarily possess more greater knowledge of how you run your life. and to me those are the two most important insights of conservatism. they are unfortunately the two
insights of conservatism that are most often ignored by self-described conservative politicians. we have seen them in a very short supply in the modern republican party, and among the recent republican presidential nominees. and i think that's unfortunate. and it's something that i hope will soon change. >> let's shift of this debate. you mentioned on domestic policy to foreign policy, we haven't really touched on that yet. you begin by describing american conservatism as you understand it as being what bush preached in 2000 pre-9/11, a humble foreign policy. and get we had a republican administration for eight years that's where that one of what many would call the most reckless or at least aggressive foreign policies in recent memory. until the current president which will get you. how do you see that in the context of american conservatism and where we are at on policy? >> i think what tends to happen, and it happens whether you are
governed by democrats or republicans, there is a bias on the part of people who hold power when there is a problem, they have to do something. or be perceived as doing something. and less often is their interest in maybe taking a step back and making sure that there's something that we do is the right something. but it has to be something. and i think any aftermath of 9/11, people want to do something because it was a very traumatic experience. the americans were attacked the americans were killed in large numbers on our soil, which is not something that americans are used to experiencing. and it was a terrible tragedy and they cry me. but there were a lot of ideas as to how to cast foreign policy in response to 9/11, such as invading iraq that were actually things people were advocating
well before we had the 9/11 terrorist attacks. made regime change in iraq the official cause of the federal government actually or during the clinton administration when the iraq liberation act was passed in 1998, cited -- signed into law by president clinton had a big bipartisan support to vice president gore was in support. that's what i'm not totally convinced we would have invaded iraq if al gore had become crazy. you've had a lot of interest though in people were casting around trying to find a solution to every do think the initial invasion of afghanistan was correct, whether that means we need to be there for 10 years or until afghanistan becomes connecticut is another matter entirely. by think the initial strikes against those who attacked us were necessary and just, but then takeoff and pursue regime change in other unrelated
countries that people wanted to already intervene in, prior to 9/11 was simply casting about in search of a solution to a problem that the political class was not really certain how to solve. >> time to start off by saying libertarianism was fiscally conservative, social liberals with will get back to the middle point. i want to ask if they so what he he just said, the left during the bush years, bush-cheney, the focus was foreign policy. guantánamo bay, patriot act, civil liberties. if there's something in america hatred on the left for the right it was specifically foreign policy, civil liberties. we have a president who's not only large he continued the same foreign policy as his predecessor, but has expanded it in horrible ways the left would not except when bush was there. for example, the patriot act it was horrible because it did people away without due process and in death in detention. obama has won up to bush by saying we can imprison american
citizens, not just enemy combatants but citizens without due process, for them and gentlemen of any questions asked. how do you see with obama's for outdoing bush on things like the patriot act and continuation of undeclared wars as upon once railed against, and d.c. foreign policy from a liberal perspective consider that obama's consider so many of his predecessor's policies and expanded and even? >> a few things but never one, i don't pick up the premise of the question in terms of much of it ndaa. obama himself has not interpreted in the aasa and where the right species about the power but i won't do it. spent i don't think that's quite accurate but he said that it's a very vague sense in the bill that it doesn't give any more power that in previous legislation in 2001. specific about tears, foreign terrorists. the army has a right to take americans willy-nilly enter them into jail indefinitely. having said that, there really
isn't a liberal foreign policy vision, now it is a conservative one, a democratic or republican. there are different strains in both parties and both ideologies. you are some people on the left who are angry at obama for things that you state, or for reasons that you stay and see them as extensions of bush. the are, like myself, who don't see it that way. c. very big differences between obama foreign policy and bush foreign policy. and obama and civil liberties and bush and civil liberties. on civil liberties, obama ended systematic torture, period. it does not happen now. there some people who argue there some individual circumstances that they're pointed to the dump with have been very full their budget and in pledges made to bad things at times, there's no human rights opposition suggesting the obama's administration has a
systematic torture system the way bush did. and on the broader foreign policy question, i think it is a huge, huge earth shattering difference that obama is on the side of bottom-up democracy in the middle east, and countries even when dictators are our allies but it is unheard of for an american president to push out an ally who is a dictator because of people have turned on that person. >> how about ferdinand marcos? >> that might be -- i will grant you that. i will defer the point. but i would say under reagan, that's not -- >> feel free to jump in. we can mess it up a little bit. >> i would not say reagan, i don't of the philippines that way. i don't think it was an across the board policy for reagan --
sound. >> i don't think it is an across the board policy for this administration either. >> well, you've had three years. it a dramatic circumstances in egypt and libya and tunisia. they are working on syria. you could point to example in bahrain, for example, not moving as fast. but is pretty difficult to flip the switch and light change every country in a matter of days. part of the obama philosophy, which is very interesting is trying to find what is pragmatically possible in this area that does not get america can't in the trap of unnecessary war, and quite my. so you these two examples of each ability which are most striking. here you have in egypt, you know, people on the streets clearly in opposition to the dictator there.
there are plenty of examples, for example, was senior, a wink and a nod trying to crack down team and. bush junior, a wink and a nod to crack down there. around the '50s of course, lots of examples where we tell folks, bush senior in iraq killing saddam if you want to crack down on the sheet, so be it, will not get involved. that's the typical which can do. for bush to go to my work and say you do get political governor, you don't get the crackdown. you are not going to keep your money necessarily if you do it that way. and because of that fact, that's one of the key factors that got them pushed out. libya was a different story. ..
>> chose not to cut him off. they chose the posture because they knew obama was in the right. >> this is just incredible hubris we're talking about here, this idea -- i mean, if you haven't learned over the last ten or so years that we cannot manage outcomes in foreign countries, i don't know what's going to -- i am very afraid of what it would take to teach you that. i mean, what's happening in the arab world is happening in the arab world whether we like it or not. obama didn't like it, hillary clinton didn't like it. she argued to her last breath that we should not stab mubarak in the back, and when we finally got around to it, it was a done deal. what we decided was not going to make any difference in egypt.
as far as libya, you know, that one, at first like it seemed we got lucky, and gadhafi went down easily, you know, in the last couple of weeks things seem to have turned around there. god only knows what's going to happen in syria. it's much more complex than iraq, and we sit here talking about, oh, the shiites believe that, and we can back the sunnis here and there. this stuff, i can tell you, i spent a lot of time in that part of the world, it doesn't even make sense in that part of the world, relate -- let alone when you're sitting here in foggy bottom. i'm still waiting for my country to rise out and live out the promise of that creed. >> jim wants to interjekyll here. >> i'm sorry. >> and then we'll get right back to you. >> that's what i'm talking about when i discuss humility, the idea that it would even be
desirable for us to flip a switch and dictate political outcomes in foreign countries. and we can say, yeah, these are bottom-up revolutions as opposed to -- but you are dealing with multifarious political factions in foreign countries about which we have limited knowledge. we have limited knowledge about tow to -- how to effect the outcomes we want. how often do we arm factions, give support to people inside and outside of goth -- saddam hussein being a very good example -- who ultimately become our enemies? american foreign policy should be focused on the interests of the united states because that is what we are most knowledgeable about. when we get into the idea that we're going to rebuild foreign countries about which we have very limited knowledge, i think we're setting ourselves up for failures and disappointment. >> well, i think you're putting a lot of words in obama's mouth on this. he is not talking about -- >> it's a bipartisan criticism.
it really isn't specific to obama criticism. >> fair enough. to get back to what both you and jim were talking about, the concern -- the problem with the bush approach to this was when you try to impose your beliefs at the point of a gun, people may not like it, and that might fuel terrorism and weaken your national security. what's going on in libya right now is not that. this is bottom-up. the opposition covers -- there's no picking and choosing on our part. we're not hand picking who the leaders are. there are people in that coalition that are not our best friends. the president of egypt was not our best friend. >> you could say the same of iraq, right? the current government in iraq is not exactly our best friend. >> it has ended up that way despite the interest of neoconservatives. they failed on what they wanted
to accomplish there, but they tried pretty darn hard to impose who they wanted there, and they couldn't pull it off. in this case they purposely with libya -- and this is happening in syria right now where hillary is saying, look, you exiles don't reflect the will of the people. we need a coalition of opposition in syria that is truly reflective of all the people, or it's not going to work. in libya when this one attack happened in benghazi, you know, you did not see the libyan people turn on us after this. they're out on the streets with us after that attack. attacks are going to happen in lots of different places because we can't control human behavior, but if we're on the side of the right, they're going to stand with us. that's actually happening in libya, which is very unusual. >> go ahead, jim. >> so would you have supported the iraq war if george bush had picked the right side, the right faction to support? >> the if there was a reason
beyond -- well, let me rephrase. if it was very clear that the people of iraq wanted to overthrow their leader and needed help to do it and went to the u.n. to get that help. >> there were large numbers of iraqis that would have liked him overthrown -- >> there's a much more sectarian situation. >> sure it was. >> and libya was not a sectarian situation. so if you had a situation where you had support with the vast majority of the people, and you had u.n. backing so there was no way it could be tarred as a u.s.-alone, imperialistic attack to try to scoop up natural resources for yourself and cause blowback, then, yes -- >> i have seen this movie before, and hearing this talk about, oh, yeah, we're not going to bring in the exiles, and we're going to pick legitimate people in the country, and tom
friedman backs it up. please. i saw it the first time. you guys were all in school the first time, but even there you probably got the idea that it didn't work out so hot. let's just let things happen the way they're going to -- let other people worry about their own countries. we have enough problems in this country. >> jim, did you have -- [applause] >> yeah. no, that's fairly similar to my own view. >> okay. i do have one question i could ask bill. if it was 2005 and it was george w. bush who wanted to do the libyan intervention, would you have supported it then? >> with the u.n. >> okay. let's do something related to military and foreign policy, and that is, of course, military spending. many on the left criticize the right for wanting to spend more on the military, mitt romney has proposed we spend $2 trillion in additional spending while still saying he's going to balance the budget, the annual deficit's run between $1 and $1.5 trillion
annually. i'll start with you, bill, on your perspective where we need to cut pentagon spending, even with obama and his foreign policy and spending keeps going up. >> yeah. i think some folks on the left don't talk about this in a great way. national security is the kind of thing where most people want national security. you don't -- you don't want to penny pinch on national security. so you don't want to approach it ticketly from a numbers basis. strictly from a numbers basis. by the same token, throwing money at national security, throwing money at problems does not necessarily solve your problem. >> unless you're ben bernanke. [laughter] >> just buy any weapons system that comes down the pike doesn't necessarily make you safe. right now we have a situation where the pentagon is saying we don't need as much money as mitt romney's proposing, that's not necessary, number one.
they are, some are not loving the restraints that obama's putting on it, but there's a general attitude, okay, if we've got to do more with less, let's figure out how to do that. you're not having great panic that some budget tear restraint is going to make us all of a sudden a third rate military. so right now it seems like there is room to cut there. there's a need to cut where you can. that seems to be a place where you can do it safely without jeopardizing national security, but you want to do that analysis with professionals, with experts, some independent from the current military industrial complex who have a stake in the matter who tell you this is a place where you can cut safely without jeopardizing america's ability to respond to attack -- >> so that's where you would start with the cuts? >> at this point in time, yeah. >> do you agree if we're looking at the national debt and the greatest strains on us economically, of course, first
by and large is entitlements, second would be so-called defense, would you agree we need to reform entitlements as well? i was doing a follow-up, but sure, go ahead, tim. >> [inaudible] >> that's okay. senator rand paul, for example, says we cannot cut the debt or do something to address the deficits without looking at domestic spending and foreign spending, and that's how we're going to have to compromise between both parties. would you, from a liberal perspective, say we need to do something as paul ryan has proposed with the entitlement system? >> we have done that. i realize conservatives don't accept that, but obamacare is deficit reduction. it's a little hard to quantify specifically because a lot of it's experimental, but most folks who look subjectively say the main drivers of deficit and debt is excessive health care spending. there's a way to constrain it
that doesn't gut the system, that doesn't deny you health care that you need. the obamacare plan is let's try out a bunch of pilots and see what works best, and let's learn as we go. and so it strikes me as very short-sighted. even if you don't like it from the get go, look, i didn't like clinton's welfare reform at first. i was not onboard. but i wasn't out there in '96 saying repeal it. gave it a shot. and in some ways it worked better than i thought it would. and in some ways it doesn't. in some ways i think it could be improved. but it was good to try it. even if you're an opponent, because this deficit issue is so serious, this is arguably some of the best ways to take handle of it. even if you're skeptical, let's see how it goes. >> you say most folks are for it, i mean, most americans are not for the it, and the affordable care act never really got a vote. like the invasion of iraq, it
never really got above 50% popular approval, and it's only gone down since then. you know, saying it's an experimental deficit reduction -- and we'll see how that works out -- sounds to me a lot like we have to pass this thing so you guys can see what's in it. the affordable care act is a monstrosity. nothing that long can be that good. i mean, it's just in the nature of all documents, and i'll say this as a libertarian on the randian point of view, the longer a thing goes on, the worse it gets. we'll have to go over that. but obviously, entitlements have to be part of our reductions in spending, but defense has to be a big reduction tooment and we need to -- too. and we need to not only reduce our defense spending, we need to reduce the number of missions we are using our defense capabilities for. most of the countries, or many of the countries where we have troops still are countries that are well able to defend
themselves, and they're good friends of the united states. germany is a good ally of the united states, japan is a good ally of the united states. we still have, you know, massive forces in there dating back to world war ii, and it just makes no sense whatsoever. i am not convinced whether you get into the bayonets or the horses or the aircraft carriers or the nuclear submarines or whatever, you know, the navy at this point is just about power projection, and it's not clear to me that we need to be projecting our power everywhere in the world or that we need to be fighting undeclared wars on, you know, five continue innocents, basically all continents including this one if you count the drug war and everything we've done in central and south america, you know, supposedly fighting drugs. we need to really, really rethink how much we want to intervene, how much we want to stick our noses into other people's business. some of doing that is going to be you're going to have to put up with a lot of people and a
lot of coverage in the new york saying, oh, why won't america come and help us? the government shouldn't be coming to help people in the united states, in most cases, it certainly shouldn't be coming just to help people in some other country. the purpose of our military is to defend this country and to keep our own people -- >> so gadhafi massacres his people, that's okay? >> no, it's not okay, but it's not something that i have a solution to. there are a lot of things out there that i don't have a solution to. >> jim? >> i think it's interesting that a lot of conservatives when it comes to the defense budget accept logic that they would reject with any other portion of the federal budget. firsting being that any cut in government spending on defense-related programs means by definition that you are hurting defense. we wouldn't necessarily accept any cut anywhere in the education budget hurts education or that any cut anywhere in the
welfare budget would necessarily hurt social welfare. but when it's defense, a lot of keys accept that line of -- conservatives accept that line of reasoning. secondly, a lot of conservatives saying well, the beneficiaries of this defense spending say it would be bad, therefore, obviously, we can't cut this spending. but that's not logic conservatives would accept with any other kind of government spending. when teachers say, obviously, the best thing we can do to stimulate the economy is hire more teachers, and the answer to that is, duh, of course they would say that, they're teachers. i think the best thing to stimulate the economy would be to hire more conservative journalists. [laughter] i think it's just self-evident that that would work. and that's logic that conservatives reject with most other forms of federal spending, but when it comes to defense spending, they accept. there's also a form of keynesianism once you get into defense spending. they begin to talk about the loss of jobs if you close down a
military base, and the multiplier effect that that would have, the hairdresser who, you know, is cutting the troops' hair won't have a job at that point. and that's, that may on some level be true, but that could be argued with every government program. with other government programs we look in terms of how that money could otherwise be spent and who might otherwise be employed and what other economic opportunities are lost as a result of that government spending. but when it's defense spending, conservatives have sort of a mind spot with that -- blind spot with that. the purpose of national defense is that, it is defending the nation, and after that it is only secondarily, way secondarily, about any other objective such as keeping the people who benefit from military spending employed. if military spending is not add van today crouse juice to our national security, it should be cut. that is not to say that that is, solves all problems, but that is
the basic rule that you should adopt in evaluating the spending that would solve a lot of the problems. >> okay. we have gone over time because we had a late start, but we're going to, i think, have some closing statements from each person down the line, and i guess we'll start with you, bill. >> thanks very much. thanks again for having us here. i thought it was a great discussion, and i just want to say it is often said wrongly this is the most important election of our lifetimes. it always feels that way, because it's the one that your in. i do think this is a unique moment in history. i do think obama's victory could por tend a major ideological shift in the country, and obama's loss would be, perhaps, a reversion to where we were a decade ago. and i think what's going on in foreign policy, i think, is very unique and very promising. what's going on with the economy, obviously, we're struggling right now, but we could be doing some major advancements, that would be great for the environment in particular. and, obviously, the youth vote
is very critical in this election, and it's also very unusual in my life that people care ant the youth vote -- about the youth vote. when i was a kid, no one was stumping on college campuses that much. so you're lucky and blessed to be listened to and to be part of this election, and you might dictate the course of the country going forward. >> tim? >> since i'm lucky pierre, i will talk to both sides. bill, i want your people to step up a little bit. we talk about fiscally conservative and socially liberal, i'd like to see some socially liberal liberals. we didn't get into the drug war, civil liberties, drones or a bunch of other things, and i'd like to see something from the left on that. as far as i can see, we've gotten bupkis on those issues. you know, every couple years there's a big debate that we'll hold in some hall just like this one about is there any, you know, is the connection between libertarians and conservatives coming to an end? and my friend, jonah goldberg,
always comes up with, you know, has a pretty good line that he says. libertarians are useful to conservatives because they always ask the question, should the government even be doing this thing we're talking about? and i'd like to return that favor a little bit. i think there are some things libertarians can learn from conservatives, among them that, you know, one of the roots of conservativism and, you know, after eight years of bush and four years of obama, i'm not sure really what conservatives or liberals stand for, but one of the bases of conservativism is the idea that we are a fallen people, that people are not perfectible, that you are not going to get changes in behavior, you're not going to socially engineer any great differences in the way people are. and i think that is a valuable thing. i'd like to see it in action. i mean, i'm not real excited about this election. i'm going to vote for gary johnson, but, you know, when i look at what has budged in the last couple years in terms of things that i'm interested in,
hasn't really been -- hasn't been coming so much from reason, from gary johnson, hasn't been coming so much from the cato institute. it's opinion the tea party, and it's been ron paul that have really pushed core libertarian issues to the forefront to the point where talking about the fed is no longer crazy talk. and i appreciate that, and those people come out of the conservative side. and i'd like to see some more deliverables from the liberals. so, bill, get to work. [laughter] >> jim? >> well, i want to thank everybody for coming for at least the brief period that i've been here, the young american liberty for having me. this is the first election where i can't with any degree of confidence predict to you what the outcome is going to be. if you put a gun to my head right now, i'd say there was probably going to be a popular/electoral vote mismatch, but it'll be the opposite of b
2000, the president getting reelected by win anything the electoral college. the truth of the matter is the margins are so slender that we don't know. conservativism, though, i think is at a crossroads, and a lot is not necessarily riding on the outcome of the election as much as how conservatives respond to the outcome of the election. if mitt romney is elected, there are certainly many opportunities for conservatives particularly in terms of pursuing a paul ryan-like entitlement reform which the country definitely need to get the debt to gdp ratio back to a sustainable level. but there's also the risk that conservatives will revert to the bush era tendencies of supporting whatever the head guy in the republican party wants to do regardless of whether it is conservative, regardless of whether it is consistent with the rhetoric that was used during the campaign, regardless of whether it's in the interest of the country. and i think that that is something that we hope that
conservatives will have internalized, a lot of the rhetoric and arguments that they've made in the last four years against obama, and be willing to apply those to a romney administration as well. i think in terms if the president is reelected, i think that's a very good opportunity for conservatives who are very fastidious about the constitution who are maybe a little bit more skeptical about erosions of civil liberties than earlier generations of conservatives, conservatives who might be a little bit more willing to scrutinize the pentagon budget. i think those factions of the right and of the republican party would be strengthened to some extent by the president's re-election as they've been strengthened by the grassroots activism against the president for the last four years. so i see opportunities and risks to really either electoral outcome, and i think as important as politics are in getting like-minded caughts elected, i think it's also important for conservatives to focus on their first principles and to try to apply them
regardless of the political situations and scenarios that they find themselves in. >> and i'd like to thank jim, tim and bill for being here today. we did run a little late, western going to run a q&a, they will be available to take your questions after ward. we've done a number of these campus debates, and they've always been enjoyable, and tonight was no exception. so appreciate you all coming out. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> [inaudible] i would like to get your opinions on the matter of whether or not do we as a
country want to continue slaying people at the behest of a joystick pretty much almost indefinitely? both obama and romney have supported the increased use of drones in counterterrorism operations, but under what legal authority or even moral authority do we have to just continue to kill people almost indefinitely without any kind of congressional declaration of war? all we are really operating under is an authorization for military force in response to al-qaeda from 9/11. it's been 11 years, how far do we keep going with this? >> can i start with this one? it is a terrific question, and i'm a little bit off the reservation on this one. if you put drone in the head live, it'll boost your traffic by at least 50%. it is a hot topic, and i, you know, it is rightly a hot topic. there is one thing i want to
make, put on this, though, one spin is that -- not a spin, but just an observation. you know, the problem isn't the technology. the problem is the mission. a drone is just a tool, and there are going to be new tools in warfare for as long as there is warfare. and i don't know that we should necessarily not be availing ourselves of them. we saw the statistic a couple weeks back about 49 collateral, you know, civilians for every one targeted person being killed by drones. i don't know how that stacks up against piloted air attacks. the problem, the real problem for drones is that they reduce the cost of usage can and, therefore, take away the disincentive for using them. you know, it's easier to blow people up from the air now than it used to be, but this shouldn't be a matter of cost. it should be a matter of decision. we don't need to be taking these missions on. we should not be blowing people
up from the air from a plane or from a drone. i mean, there's a lot of collateral damage that comes from a, you know, an f-16 coming or whatever the new joint strike fighter is going to be, and, you know, blowing people up on the ground. this is not something that's specific to drones. the problem is that drones make it cheaper to do all that, and, you know, it's the old when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. and i would say both domestically and internationally because, you know, drones are coming to a town or city near you, and, you know, again, i'm not sure that we need to say, you know, no police can ever use a drone because there are legitimate police reasons to be wanting to be using an aircraft. i was walking my youngest kid in l.a. a couple of years ago just, you know, in a stroller trying to get her to sleep at night. i got followed for two blocks by an lapd helicopter with its
spotlight on me. i ended up going like this to make him go away. and this had been a piloted craft. if it had been a drone following me, it wouldn't have made a difference. we have militarized police treating all citizens like they're criminals who need to be kept under control, and overseas we have this, you know, boundless military that wants to, you know, that needs to be taking out bad guys in some cases, but in a lot of cases just needs to be hitting targets. and that's the problem. it's not so much the technology. >> does anybody else have a question, or did anybody else want to answer the question? >> did you want to follow up? >> no, i wanted to hear from the full range -- >> i'll dive into the empty swimming pool. i think the way tim frames the question is exactly right. it's less -- i mean, there are questions about the tool as far as incentives are concerned, but the bigger question is do you think we should be fighting a war against al-qaeda
terrorists at this point, or should we not. and if you do, is the way we're going about it an effective way or a way that's going to cause blowback? those are the two big questions. i happen to think that if you are -- what i think, al-qaeda's still a problem, although i grant that it is a difficult political problem for a president to say we won, and it's over. you say it prematurely and you get attacked the next week, you know, that's the end of your presidency. it's really, really, really got to look over before someone can say that, and that's a sticky situation. >> like benghazi. >> what's that? >> like benghazi. >> benghazi was local militants, not al-qaeda from above. but people lose those quiks very -- convictions very quickly sometimes in terms of politics. i be i think -- but i think there's still a reason to use them.
you want to be careful about the incentive question that you're not treating it like a hammer and the republic looks like a nail. you don't want to be willy-nilly about it. the 2001 authorization is still legal authority. they can yank it, they haven't. if we're causing real destabilization in pakistan, that would be a serious issue to look at. i don't think pakistan has never been a wholly stable place, but it hasn't gone off the tipping point yet. we've been doing drones there for a long while, and i think that's because -- to get back to what i was saying about libya and egypt -- we are doing a more bottom-up democracy. america is not looking like the imperialist nation that it had in the past. that is damping down the potential for blowback here which i think quite a striking thing and something worth praising. >> yeah. you know, i think if you blow up a wedding party, the people who
are related to the people in the wedding party who were blown up don't think about what your objectives were or what ideology was governing why the stoics happened. i think -- i wouldn't often cite donald rumsfeld in terms of restraint and use of military force, but i do think he at one point during the iraq war asked a very important question that i think apply to drones and a lot of other american use of force in the war on terror. are we killing more terrorists than we're creating and vice versa? and i think that that's the metric you always have to be hooking at. i don't have -- looking at. i don't have a problem with targeted killings of high value terrorist targets. i do have some questions about process, but my larger concern is the extent of collateral damage and what that does to sort of encourage the kinds of things that we're trying to prevent by conducting the strikes in the first place. >> thank you.
>> when charles krauthammer is chastising the president for the increased use of surveillance drones as well, you know the politics has switched a little bit. that's an interesting situation. are there any other questions? yes, sir. >> first of all, thank you all for being here. it's been a great, great conversation. um, as we've heard you all agree, the deficit will be fixed not only by cutting government excess, but also by increasing revenue. how do you feel about legalizing or regulating drugs as a means of doing both of those? >> um, i'm all for it. i don't want anything taxed at all. but, yeah, this is, we may be getting to a pragmatic kind of prohibition era question where it became expedient to legalize alcohol so you could be getting some of the great, so that the
federal -- the government could be getting some of the proceeds from that great cash crop, and, you know, marijuana as we all know is the biggest cash crop in the country. again, you know, i'm looking for the liberals to step up to the plate here. i keep hearing this thing about, oh, you know, wait until obama gets elected. he'll stop laughing anytime everybody mentions this, the idea of legalization. legalization, by the way, is not just some libertarian fancy. in opinion polls and in the voting in referenda in all of the states that it's come up in, it's more popular than gay marriage. it's more popular than a lot of stuff that has moved into the consensus of acceptable discussion. it's only in official washington that this hasn't been, you know, been accepted. and by the way, i hate to pick the liberals, cut the liberals down one more time, but i have never in my life heard legalization of drugs talked about in a presidential debate
until the first republican primary debate of either end of last year or this year when both gary johnson and ron paul brought it up, and they actually got big rounds of applause. they did not get booed off the stage. they got laughed at by mitt romney and all the rest of them, but, you know, you take out the little what we call in marxist theory the superstructure of, you know, the party apparatus, and everybody takes it seriously. or maybe these guys will contradict -- >> do you want me to go, or do you want to go? >> yeah, i mean, mine should be pretty quick. i prefer taxes on consumption as opposed to on investment or on anything that creates additional income. so, and i'm not a fan of the drug war, so i wouldn't really object to it. i'd be skeptical of marijuana legalization as a grand deficit reduction strategy. i'd have to see some numbers that suggest it would bring in the types of revenue that we're
really talking about. politically, it will be a very difficult thing to do, so i'm not sure -- i'm in favor of it, but i'm not sure it's something that you could put in the context of the deficit reduction package because a serious deficit reduction package would entail enough other things that are very politically difficult to do. >> um, i think most liberals are where you are. i'm a little bit conflicted myself, but i don't think liberals have abandoned the issue the way you suggest. obviously, president obama's not on the forefront of where you are, but there's appetite for what you're saying. i would not to at the issue myself as a fiscal matter. you know, i would look at, first, as what's going to be best for public health, and if you made the decision that legalization was good for -- a shift, essentially, to more treatment as opposed to criminal prosecution was going to be
public health, then -- [inaudible] it wouldn't be a prime reason for me to do it. the public is very, very tricky. i think by overstating the popularity, if it was that popular, we wouldn't be talking about it, it would be done. because politicians are politicians. i think there is certainly a momentum towards it on certain issues, particularly on marijuana. broad legalization i don't think is very popular. but, you know, jimmy carter tried this, and he got burned. it just takes one party with a bunch of 13-year-olds to get out of hand to become a media sensation and get blamed for it. a lot of politicians are very nervous about that. and, you know, so i think you can on paper say, look, you know, a drug user shouldn't be a criminal, we certainly should not have mass incarceration of wide segments of the african-american community over drug laws. that itself is a problem. so let's do a shift here in our
approach, but if it becomes a massive political liability because either isolated incidents that gets blown out of proportion by the media or perhaps an actual increase in use by youngsters, and, you know, there is some evidence to suggest that drug use when you're an adolescent is the worst possible time for your brain to be using drugs, then that's not going to, that's not going to happen. the blowback is going to be pretty harsh. so it's a very ginger topic politically. i would like to see a shift towards more emphasis on treatment, but i think getting from point a to point b is very complicated. >> i should correct. i think i may have said legalization is more popular. what i meant was more broadly liberalization of drug wars and particularly winding down the drug war which is a big public health problem in this country, and it's actually a foreign policy problem. it's a disgrace that we had this presidential debate a couple of
weeks ago about foreign policy, and nobody mentioned the 60,000 people who have been killed in mexico since 2006 because of our war on drugs. >> thank you. >> i just want to move this up. i just want to thank you all for coming out, and earlier there was a lot of discussion about the response to the financial crisis and what the government should do to respond to that, but there wasn't really much discussion on the cause of the financial crisis and housing bubble. now, i'm sure bill will say some things about deregulationing the cause, tim, maybe jim will talk about bad housing policy and maybe bad federal reserve policy, but i just want to know your opinions specifically on what caused the housing bubble and the subsequent financial crisis. >> i think you stated them pretty accurately for all three of us. [laughter] i think we had -- like i said, you know, i am not sure the
2000-2001 recession ever really ended. i think we had this period of indefinite stagnation propped up by extraordinarily low what were at the time considered extraordinarily low interest rates and the creation of this housing bubble that papered over a lot of the problems. and, you know, i think i do want to mention federal reserve policy which has, you know, certainly was a big truck driver in this -- big driver in this. you know, there's this problem. when you subsidize something or when you guarantee a bet, you're going to get more people taking that bet and spending that money. and we didn't even talk about education policy, but that's been the biggest driver of the, you know, almost 300% increase in tuition costs since the '70s. i mean, all of these are way outside of inflation, and it's where you see the most effort to, you know, make it more affordable and make it, subsidize it so that everybody can get into a home or everybody can get an education.
that's where you see the prices spike. and unfortunately, i don't know how you guys are doing in terms of your student debt, but, you know, the current generation of graduates are really going to be left holding the bag on this because of the huge amount of student debt that's in there. and i think the same dynamic was at work in the housing crisis, that you had this bubble, it was, you know, artificially created by loose monetary policy, by a policy that george w. bush pushed himself, the ownership society. we wanted to get the rate of home ownership -- it had been about 60-65% for going back about 50 years. you know, the number -- that's about how many americans owned their homes. he wanted to get that up. they ticked it up slightly, got to about 69%, now it's below where it was. and, you know, in my view it needs to collapse even further. we've seen an increase since the end of the '70s, we've seen an an increase in house prices that has not been wound down and still these to wind down
further. and, you know, i have, i get ulcers on my ulcers when i see yet another news story about, hey, the real estate market's finally returning to health. the health is the problem. the reinflation of real estate prices is the problem. and the decline in real estate prices, as painful as it was, was the solution. >> um, looking at lack of regulation more here than i do at the federal reserve, and probably there are economic debates that go on about this that people are going to be more articulate on the subject than i, and others might be if you look at them. and this happened after the great depression too. there's a lot of debate what exactly happened here. it's kind of murky. it's hard to pinpoint exactly, but it's important to get at because you want to develop policies that are going to respond to it. i would think at least broadly you've got to look at the
financial deregulation started under clinton. the tail end of his second term. now some people shorthand this and say clinton and the republican congress repealed glass-steagall, therefore, the crisis happened. my understanding is that's a little oversimplified, that you can't directly go from point a to point b there. and there are other things that happened beyond glass-steagall. i do think you can say that a pretty major shift in financial regulation occurred because of the package of laws that happened in clinton's last term, and then not a lot of monitoring of the situation occurred after that. you've just completely changed the regime in a very substantial way on the financial community that we have all these innovations we want to try, you're not letting us. okay, let's try it. let's see how these innovations go, but let's watch you very carefully because if something goes wrong with the financial system, it's really, really, really, really bad and not so
easy to patch up. let's be careful about this, and i don't think that attitude was in store following that. there was everyday that the housing bubble was -- evidence was occurring. dean baker, who's a progressive economist, he's always saying if you bubble was coming, you weren't paying attention, and why should i li t you can't follow basic economics? that should have been paid closer attention to at the time, and people should have thought, hey, what's going on here, what can we pass to clamp down on these practices that are causing this bubble to rise, and that didn't happen. and so that, and that's where we are today. i don't think the solution to that is just to wash your hands of all regulation and let it all go on its own, but i think you might have a very quick repeat performance. >> let's take one final question. >> a great panel. my question's about the economy. i guess i'm not sure who
mentioned it, but -- yeah, i guess the rules you're conservative on fiscal spending and you believed the rules are more, i guess you believe in letting the economy kind of fall and somehow builds itself. i know this might sound a little crazy, but, you know, i remember reading something about there's the top, i think, 10 -- maybe 5% of the wealth, all the wealthy somehow, okay, they consume -- okay. let me put it in the right words. yeah, they consume 50% of all the revenues that are actually going into the gdp or the economy, and they -- okay, they consume 40% that gets into their pocket and 50% they spend, so
there is actually, you know, they do somehow stimulate the economy. um, i heard something tim said somewhere about, you know, nobody's spending, like everybody's somehow holding on to, you know, what they have. i believe, like, there's enough wealth, you know, and enough wealthy people to stimulate the economy, but there's no way to do it, because, you know, it's not profitable for those individuals. and i felt like in this kind of situation shouldn't there be some kind of protocol like people have actually profited in the last two or three decades -- >> are you asking if the wealthy should pay more than they are now? >> taxation would probably get a little bit out of them, but i'm more thinking of, you know, kind of an emergency situation where they would actually have to -- >> go out and buy more stuff? >> huh? >> you want them to buy more stuff, or do you want a hard cap on what they can make? >> well, i was -- because i feel like, you know, trying to distribute the burden on
everybody, even the people who have been, like, really hurt, especially the lower middle class is kind of like -- i feel like it's unfair, and, you know, shouldn't there be some kind of policy for, you know, the really wealthy people, the top 10% or 5% to actually somehow just put out whatever is needed to, you know, keep the economy going, and, you know -- >> okay. so distribution or redistribution of wealth and tax rates. go ahead, tim. >> one thing, we're really running full out on trying to get people to spend everything that they have, and that goes for rich and poor, you know? and even though everybody agrees that capitalism is the greatest engine of prosperity in the history of the world or whatever, the problems with libertarians is that we actually believe that, and, you know, one of the basic ideas of capitalism is that you need to, you need to, you need wealth formation. you need savings, and you need
people to actually be building up their nest egg before they go out and spend it. i mean, we have a lot of incentives right now for everybody to go and spend, and we are seeing the successful results of those initiatives because nobody's saving. we have extremely low savings rates, and that's, you know, i believe the keynesian experiment has been tried and it has failed and that we need to get away from this idea that we need to be stimulating more spending or getting people to spend more. as far as the inequality question that you bring up, i mean, that's a different thing, and, you know, i see statistics that indicate that inequality is higher than it used to be. don't -- it's not something that, i'm neither rich enough, nor poor enough for that really to be something that makes a lot of sense to me. um, i don't know, you know? i want to be part of the 1%, um,
and we have, you know, fairly progressive taxation right now. um, one of the things that nobody, conservatives, liberals or anybody else really wants to talk about that if you want to get revenues up, you need to start taxing more people. .. >> it is politically radioactive, but if you actually are talking about raising
revenues, that's something you've got to do. that's the opposite. >> michele bachmann did. the 47% figure. broadening the tax base of people who are poor pay income taxes then when they are not. considering there is -- it doesn't strike me as -- >> i'm not saying whether it's right or wrong. i think this is what the numbers tell you. >> to that point, people who were even working poor, pay payroll tax, they pay sales taxes for any goods they buy, so the notion that this widespread, widely debunked. but to get your broader point, what do you do about this kind of situation, and to a point where i overlap with tim here, i'm not a socialist. i do think i do think that one should have the same exact income. i don't think it should be that rigid that you do want to have some income mobility.
you want the ability to move up. and the concern is if you have policies that engineer great concentrations of wealth, you don't get the chance to beat the top 1%. if you have no estate tax at all, for example, and you just passed and all of your wealth, to your errors, at any tax at all whatsoever you have an aristocracy which we just have in this country over a century ago. we stopped that and it was good we stopped that. you don't want babies so severe that it's not worth it. to pursue your economic dreams. there's plenty of room in attacks or to to do that. it's not a binary type question. so if you think we need of some tax policy that taxes the wealthy fairly. we funded the government we want in a way that it doesn't -- it doesn't punish success but we get the government we wanted at
the same time you want to the safety net. this is one of the reasons why the great recession today was not as bad as the great depression when it started in 29 is we actually had some policies in place that didn't exist back then. we didn't have food stamps in 1929. the republicans talk now about food stamps are up. that's part of the design of the program when it started. not obama's doing. the whole point is to have that they are in and economically harsh time so you don't pull off a cliff pretty while that number to go up in a recession so people have some dollars to spend, not only for moral reasons but so they can be. it's good for the macro economy that they can get up there and fight the. that's the point of the program. i think it has some value in not letting the poor languish on dependency and find a way to move folks to work. i think you do want to have that and you should try to affect
those policy. it was not very useful in the time of recession because if you have a time requirement, a policy you have x number jews to find a job or we cut you off, that doesn't work very well when there's no jobs spent osha the ratio is out of whack, that's a weakness in the safety net right now that is hurting us. the food stamp, it's the part that is working to the poverty numbers that you see, a former federal poverty rate does not account for those benefits. they don't of the benefits you get. we would not be as high if you include those numbers. we cushion the blow because of him programs like that and that's a good thing. we need to get to the next level where we repeal the bush tax cuts and have a fair tax code again. so not only will we reduce some of these inequalities but we invest in things that help the entire economy like infrastructure, ike education, et cetera. >> i'm always amazed by all the things that we're going to buy by raising the top marginal tax
rate from 35% to 39.6%. i'd like maybe, i would've myself at some point, it would be interesting to calculate all the things effort people are going to buy and then actually around and you get, you get from doing that, it would be a very big difference between the two. i think a flaw in a lot of is our economic thinking of law flaw so the we are economic statistics are calculated is there's this bias in favor of consumption. and i think that we have to look at production has been more of a wealth creating activity than consumption. production is what makes consumption possible. and i think by having the bias in favor of consumption, we sometimes neglect to agree in which way investment can be benefit. one of the biggest things that's helped drive wage growth has actually been a capital improvement over the course of the 20th century, tracks very closely to increases in wages
and increases in ordinary people's living standards. and i think just in terms of everybody going out to the shopping mall is sort of an oversimplification in terms of how economies are driven forward, and that's one of the reasons why i think we end up with some of the misconceptions that you can stimulate the economy by simply taking, you know, some water from the shallow end of the pool and dumping it into the deep end of the pool and then taking it out of the deep end of the pool. you're basically, you are taken from a static economy and you are trying to redistribute, alter the composition rather than grow the pie. and i think when you think more in terms of production, savings and adjustment, then you get a more growth based approach to becoming. >> i would like to thank everybody for coming out tonight. hope to see you all again soon. [applause] >> thanks for sticking with us. >> tonight watch election
coverage on c-span with president obama from his headquarters in chicago, and mitt romney from his headquarters in boston. plus key senate and house victory and concession speeches from across the country. and throughout the night, your reaction by phone from e-mail, facebook and twitter. live coverage starts 8 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span radio and at c-span.org. where you can also access interactive maps. find updates on the balance of power in congress in tracked state ballot initiative. >> now a discussion about national security and foreign policy by campaign advisers the president obama and mitt romney. they talked about military spending, the u.s. focus on asia pacific region and american leadership. this is about an hour. >> good evening, everyone, and welcome to the military reporters and editors annual conference. my name is ellen shearer.
i'm with the medill school of journalism, and i'm codirector of mayfield national security journalism initiative, which is cosponsoring tonight's event. we are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with mre because our goals are very similar. the mcgill national security journalism initiative aims to educate young journalists and professionals working veteran journalists to better improve coverage of national security issues. much the same goals as the military reporters and editors conference. and we've got a great program cuts i think we should get to it. i will turn the stage over to bryan bender, who is the president of the mre. >> thanks, alan, and thank you guys for coming. we are very pleased tonight to have to form an undersecretary for defense, both advising the president as well as governor romney on defense and foreign
policy. first to my right is dov zakheim who is a senior advisor to governor romney, served as undersecretary defense in the last bush administration and has a long history of defense policy experience dating back to the reagan administration in both the public and private sector. and to his right is michele flournoy who was very relieved ththe undersecretary of defense for policy in the obama administration, senior advisor to the president's reelection campaign, and is also cofounder of the center for a new american security. and maybe i will start it off with a question for both of you and then we'll go to the audience. secretaries that time, it seems to me that one of the biggest differences between governor romney and president obama at least in the public statements is in terms of the style of american leadership in the world.
and governor romney has made it clear he believes the presence of leadership is not the right approach and is perhaps undercut american security. so can you talk about specifically how the romney administration would approach the american role of the world, how it would deal differently? and then perhaps secretary flournoy after to defend the obama administration's approach and why you think governor romney's criticism is not founded. >> well, i agree that there's clear differences in style. there's also a difference in substance. so let me start with the stauber, and if i haven't done i will do with the substance for, otherwise you folks will be able to ask the question that will presumably allow me to deal with that anyway. fundamentally, the governor begins with the premise that it appears the president doesn't share, which is that of american exceptionalism. now that whole idea has been i
think critically misunderstood in the sense that it doesn't mean we are superior. what it does mean, and, frankly, the one who used the phrase as well as any other was madeleine albright and the clinton administration. secretary albright said we are the indispensable power. that means that we are a necessary condition for making things happen and making them happen in the right way. and where the only necessary like the. so by definition that makes us exceptional. beyond that, although we're not the only nation of immigrants, canada to the north is a nation of immigrants to the australians, lots of nation. europe now has lots of immigrants. we have done more with our immigrants as a nation of immigrants than anybody else. the longest possible shock. people are lining up to get into this country. they have been since day one. that makes us exceptional, too.
and, finally, more than any other country, we represent, and i don't think michelle or really anybody in our national security community would disagree, we represent a series of values in a way that nobody else has been able to. so that makes us exceptional. when you begin with that, the next question is how do you underpin it? and the governor has made it clear that he underpins it with this notion of peace and strength. that is to say, if you want to have peace, if you want of stability, you need to be strong because being strong enables you to eventually dissuade people from doing things they otherwise might do. and to have that kind of strength, you need not to cut defense budgets, for example, but to increase them. let me give you a specific on that. there is no way that we can
pivot to asia the way the obama administration wants and maintain what's clearly a required presence in the middle east and for some time to come, and do more on the seas of the mediterranean, for instance, we now have for missile defense ships coming to spain and operating in the eastern med. you can do it all when you cut defense spending. you just can't. i'm not even talking about the sequester. you just cannot get from here to there. if you indeed want to beef up your presence in asia, and you have to maintain what you're doing in the middle east, you can't spend less. it doesn't work. so to be credible, to be credibly strong, to be credible to your allies, to be credible to those who might challenge you